Security Solutions for Remote Workers
BY: MEGAN TOTKA ON MONDAY, APRIL 17, 2017
Mobile workers are incredibly prevalent across all industries these days, as they can provide flexibility for organizations. With the increased numbers of remote workers and the increasing number of online threats, safety becomes a major business concern. If your company employs remote employees, there are several things you can do to protect your business and clients.
Prohibit Open Wi-Fi
Remote workers are often on the hunt for free Wi-Fi. Though free and open Wi-Fi may be a good option for the individual, it poses a huge security threat to the organization. With these type of free networks, anyone is able to join and anything that is sent via the network can be viewed, if someone knows what to search for. Business documents and data should only be sent using secure networks. It is important to put a policy in place that restricts the use of open Wi-Fi when transmitting certain information. It can be difficult to monitor this however, so setting up secure Wi-Fi hotspot devices may be the way to go with your mobile workers. If they utilize an at home network, ensure they are sending password protected documents, so data remains safe.
Require VPN’s on Devices
Whether your employees are provided company issued laptops or they use their own devices, make sure a VPN is used for access to company data. If the device is offered by your company, install a VPN. This password protected option allows secure access to remote workers. Some organizations have policies in place that require this anytime work is being done outside the office. A VPN provides an extra layer of protection for your business.
Mandate Password Changes
Password protected data and devices are a step in the right direction but passwords do need to be changed periodically to maintain a high level of security. Encourage remote workers to update passwords on a routine basis. You’ll always have that one employee who uses “password” or “1234” as their passcode, which is obviously not the most secure choice. Therefore, password parameters should be put in place to aid in more complex password usage. As a general rule of thumb, passwords should be replaced at least once, every 90 days. All devices and programs should be included for updated passcodes. Company issued devices can have preconfigured systems that automatically prompt a password change. If a remote worker fails to change their password by a determined deadline, you can set up a lock out feature. This approach would require the IT department to intervene by unlocking the computer and confirming the remote worker updates their password. It will add an extra step for remote workers when they forget password updates, but will better protect valuable data.
By being proactive with the security of company data, you are one step closer to safeguarding the overall success of your business. As Chief Information Officer, Rich Hillebrecht, of innovative technology solutions company, Riverbed, states, “[T]he theft of the trade secrets, drawings, plans or proprietary know-how that drive revenue and competitive advantage can literally bring an organization down.” By taking precautionary security measures, you increase the chances of longevity for your business, which ultimately benefits employees.
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